Jon Kyl is back at it once again. Just when you thought the vehemently
anti-online gambling Senator was off his soapbox and quieting down, he's making
some noise once again and putting pressure on incumbent Attorney General, Eric
Holder. As Holder undergoes his appointment hearing, which many would say is
more like a grilling session, Jon Kyl is making some direct inquiries regarding
the bill he helped author and pass to make online gambling illegal in the U.S.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is the piece of legislation,
or should I say "law", which seeks to strong-arm financial institutions into
blocking transactions made for online gambling purposes. Having been passed into
law as buried attachment to a green-lighted port security bill, the UIGEA now
faces great difficulty in the enforcement stage. In fact, that's what Kyl wanted
to hear the prospective Attorney General say he'll do - enforce the UIGEA.
And while Holder said he would indeed do so (which many people speculate was
just to placate Kyl), the real problem is that the UIGEA is a flawed law and
that enforcement is highly impractical. Not providing any framework for how to
block transactions, the financial sector has been left with an overwhelming
burden., which it has been quite vocal about to say the least. By the looks of
things, no progress is being made, and all the while, U.S. citizens continue to
gamble at online casinos, poker rooms, sportsbooks, bingo rooms and even rummy
Understandably, Kyl has worked hard to get the UIGEA passed into law, and
would not want to see all of his efforts go to waste. Perhaps he even thinks
that banning online gambling will be his legacy. Faced with doubts about the
effectiveness of his legislation, Kyl even spearheaded "midnight drop" add-ons
to the UIGEA hoping these would make it more efficient at blocking financial
transactions with online casinos. Kyl even pressed Holder whether he would seek
to enforce these midnight regulations.
The fact of the matter, however, is that questions like these hold no weight.
Once Holder makes it through the appointment hearing - and it's very likely he
will - and is appointed Attorney General, he can basically do whatever he wants
with the UIGEA. And while the Attorney General should be fully independent of
the President, considering these hard economic times and an Obama budget that
will likely call for more government funding, the prospects of actually
overturning the UIGEA and regulating online gambling still looks good.